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erudition, and display his fine critical taste and words, not the number of syllables. “Though the
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak? but as an eloquent and gifted expounder of
There is not wind enough in the air kindred excellence and genius. He seems like
To move away the ringlet curl one who has the key to every hidden chamber of
From the lovely lady's cheek ; profound and subtle thought and every ethereal
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan, conception. We cannot think, however, that he
That dances as often as dance it can, could ever have built up a regular system of ethics
Hanging so light, and hanging so high, or criticism. He wanted the art to combine and
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky. arrange his materials. He was too languid and irresolute. He had never attained the art of Hush, beating heart of Christabel ! writing with clearness and precision ; for he is Jesu Maria shield her well ! often unintelligible, turgid, and verbose, as if he She foldeth her arms beneath her cloak, struggled in vain after perspicacity and method.
And stole to the other side of the oak. His intellect could not subordinate the 'shaping
What sees she there? spirit' of his imagination.
There she sees a damsel bright, The poetical works of Coleridge have been
Dressed in a silken robe of white, collected and published in three volumes. They
That shadowy in the moonlight shone :
The neck that made that white robe wan, are various in style and manner, embracing ode,
Her stately neck and arms were bare ; tragedy, and epigram, love-poems, and strains of
Her blue-veined feet unsandalled werc; patriotism and superstition-a wild witchery of
And wildly glittered here and there imagination and, at other times, severe and stately
The gems entangled in her hair. thought and intellectual retrospection. His lan- I guess 'twas frightful there to see guage is often rich and musical, highly figurative A lady so richly clad as sheand ornate. Many of his minor poems are charac- Beautiful exceedingly ! terised by tenderness and beauty, but others are disfigured by passages of turgid sentimentalism and A finer passage is that describing broken friendpuerile affectation. The most original and striking ships : of his productions is his well-known tale of The
Alas ! they had been friends in youth ; Ancient Mariner. According to De Quincey, the
But whispering tongues can poison truth; germ of this story is contained in a passage of
And constancy lives in realms above ; Shelvocke, one of the classical circumnavigators And life is thorny ; and youth is vain : of the earth, who states that his second captain, And to be wroth with one we love, being a melancholy man, was possessed by a fancy
Doth work like madness in the brain. that some long season of foul weather was owing And thus it chanced, as I divine, to an albatross which had steadily pursued the With Roland and Sir Leoline. ship, upon which he shot the bird, but without mending their condition. Coleridge makes the
Each spake words of high disdain ancient mariner relate the circumstances attending
And insult to his heart's best brother : his act of inhumanity to one of three wedding
They parted—ne'er to meet again !
But never either found another guests whom he meets and detains on his way to
To free the hollow heart from paining ; the marriage-feast. 'He holds him with his
They stood aloof, the scars remaining, glittering eye,' and invests his narration with a
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder : deep preternatural character and interest, and
A dreary sea now flows between. with touches of exquisite tenderness and energetic But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, description. The versification is irregular, in the Shall wholly do away, I ween, style of the old ballads, and most of the action of
The marks of that which once hath been. the piece is unnatural ; yet the poem is full of vivid and original imagination. There is nothing else This metrical harmony of Coleridge exercises a like it,' says one of his critics ; 'it is a poem by sort of fascination even when it is found united to itself ; between it and other compositions, in pari- incoherent images and absurd conceptions. Thus materia, there is a chasm which you cannot over- in Khubla Khan, a fragment written from recollecpass. The sensitive reader feels himself insulated, tions of a dream, we have the following melodious and a sea of wonder and mystery flows round him rhapsody: as round the spell-stricken ship itself. Coleridge further illustrates his theory of the connection
The shadow of the dome of pleasure between the material and the spiritual world in
Floated midway on the waves,
Where was heard the mingled measure his unfinished poem of Christabel, a romantic
From the fountain and the caves. supernatural tale, filled with wild imagery and
It was a miracle of rare device, the most remarkable modulation of verse. The
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice ! versification is founded on what the poet calls a A damsel with a dulcimer new principle—though it was evidently practised In a vision once I saw : by Chaucer and Shakspeare-namely, that of It was an Abyssinian maid, counting in each line the number of accentuated And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
The bride hath paced into the hall, Could I revive within me
Red as a rose is she; Her symphony and song,
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.
The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear; And all who heard should see them there,
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner :
* And now the storm-blast came, and he And close your eyes with holy dread,
Was tyrannous and strong ; For he on honey-dew hath fed,
He struck with his o'ertaking wings, And drunk the milk of paradise.
And chased us south along. The odes of Coleridge are highly passionate and
“With sloping masts and dripping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow elevated in conception. That on France was con
Still treads the shadow of his foe, sidered by Shelley to be the finest English ode of
And forward bends his head, modern times. The hymn on Chamouni is
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast, equally lofty and brilliant. His Genevieve is a And southward aye we fled. pure and exquisite love-poem, without that gorgeous diffuseness which characterises the odes, yet
* And now there came both mist and snow, more chastely and carefully finished, and abound
And it grew wondrous cold; ing in the delicate and subtle traits of his imag
And ice mast-high came floating by ination. Coleridge was deficient in the rapid
As green as emerald. energy and strong passion necessary for the *And through the drifts the snowy cliffs drama. The poetical beauty of certain passages Did send a dismal sheen; would not, on the stage, atone for the paucity Nor shapes of men nor beasts we kenof action and want of interest in his two plays, The ice was all between, though, as works of genius, they vastly excel those
“The ice was here, the ice was there, of a more recent date which prove highly success
The ice was all around ; ful in representation.
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound !
* At length did cross an albatross,
Thorough the fog it came ;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name. "By thy long gray beard and glittering eye,
It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew;
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through !
* And a good south wind sprung up behind, Mayst hear the merry din.'
The albatross did follow,
And every day for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!
• In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine ;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.'
"God save thee, ancient mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus !
Why look'st thou so ?' With my cross-bow
I shot the albatross.
“The sun now rose upon the right,
Out of the sea came he ;
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.
* And the good south-wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow ;
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariner's hollo !
And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe;
For all averred I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
“Ah, wretch,” said they, “the bird to slay For he heard the loud bassoon.
That made the breeze to blow !"
Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
"With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, The glorious sun uprist;
Agape they heard me call ; Then all averred I had killed the bird
Gramercy they for joy did grin, That brought the fog and mist.
And all at once their breath drew in, “'Twas right," said they, “such birds to slay
As they were drinking all. That bring the fog and mist.”
"" See ! see !” I cried, "she tacks no more, • The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
Hither to work us weal; The furrow followed free;
Without a breeze, without a tide, We were the first that ever burst
She steadies with upright keel.” Into that silent sea.
“The western wave was all a-flame, 'Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
The day was well-nigh done, 'Twas sad as sad could be ;
Almost upon the western wave And we did speak only to break
Rested the broad bright sun ; The silence of the sea!
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun. · All in a hot and copper sky, The bloody sun at noon
And straight the sun was flecked with barsRight up above the mast did stand,
Heaven's mother send us grace !-No bigger than the moon.
As if through a dungeon grate he peered
With broad and burning face. 'Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;
• Alas! thought I, and my heart beat loud, As idle as a painted ship
How fast she nears and nears; Upon a painted ocean.
Are those her sails that glance in the sun
Like restless gossameres? • Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink;
Are those her ribs through which the sun Water, water everywhere,
Did peer, as through a grate ;
And is that woman all her crew? Nor any drop to drink.
Is that a death, and are there two ? 'The very deep did rot; O Christ!
Is death that woman's mate? That ever this should be !
'Her lips were red, her looks were free, Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Her locks were yellow as gold; Upon the slimy sea.
Her skin was as white as leprosy, 'About, about, in reel and rout
The nightmare Life-in-death was she, The death-fires danced at night;
Who thicks man's blood with cold. The water, like a witch's oils,
"The naked hulk alongside came, Burnt green, and blue, and white.
And the twain were casting dice ; "And some in dreams assured were
“The game is done ! I've won, I've won !" Of the spirit that plagued us so ;
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
'The sun's rim dips, the stars rush out,
At one stride comes the dark ; 'And every tongue, throu utter drought,
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea
Off shot the spectre-bark.
"We listened and looked sideways up ;
Fear at my heart, as at a cup, • Ah, well-a-day! what evil looks
My life-blood seemed to sip. Had I from old and young!
The stars were dim, and thick the night, Instead of the cross, the albatross
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white; About my neck was hung.
From the sails the dew did drip-
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.
'One after one, by the star-dogged moon, A weary time ! a weary time!
Too quick for groan or sigh, How glazed each weary eye!
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang, When looking westward I beheld
And cursed me with his eye. A something in the sky.
'Four times fifty living men— * At first it seemed a little speck,
And I heard nor sigh nor groanAnd then it seemed a mist;
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, It moved and moved, and took at last
They dropped down one by one. A certain shape, I wist.
The souls did from their bodies flyA speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
They fled to bliss or woe! And still it neared and neared :
And every soul it passed me by As if it dodged a water-sprite,
Like the whizz of my cross-bow.' It plunged, and tacked, veered.
PART IV. "With throats unslaked, with black lips baked, We could nor laugh nor wail ;
'I fear thee, ancient mariner, Through utter drought all dumb we stood ;
I fear thy skinny hand ! I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And thou art long, and lank, and brown, And cried : “A sail! a sail!”
As is the ribbed sea-sand.
'I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
PART V. Oh, sleep! it is a gentle thing, Beloved from pole to pole! To Mary Queen the praise be given ! She sent the gentle sleep from heaven, That slid into my soul. • The silly buckets on the deck, That had so long remained, I dreamt that they were filled with dew; And when I awoke it rained.
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
'I moved, and could not feel my limbs :
'And soon I heard a roaring wind :
'I looked upon the rotting sea,
'The upper air burst into life!
And the coming wind did roar more loud, And the sails did sigh like sedge ; And the rain poured down from one black cloud; The moon was at its edge. "The thick black cloud was cleft, and still The moon was at its side : Like waters shot from some high crag, The lightning fell with never a jag, A river steep and wide.
"The moving moon went up the sky,
Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
'The loud wind never reached the ship,
‘Beyond the shadow of the ship
*They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose, Nor spake, nor moved their eyes ; It had been strange, even in a dream, To have seen those dead men rise. "The helmsman steered, the ship moved on, Yet never a breeze up blew ; The mariners all 'gan work the ropes Where they were wont to do ; They raised their limbs like lifeless tools We were a ghastly crew. 'The body of my brother's son Stood by me, knee to knee : The body and I pulled at one rope, But he said nought to me.' 'I fear thee, ancient mariner !' ‘Be calm, thou wedding-guest ! 'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, Which to their corses came again, But a troop of spirits blest : *For when it dawned, they dropped their arms, And clustered round the mast; Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths, And from their bodies passed.
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.'
The mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone : and now the wedding-guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.
From the Ode to the Departing Year' (1795).
Spirit who sweepest the wild harp of time !
It is most hard, with an untroubled ear
Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
Yet, mine eye fixed on heaven's unchanging clime
Long when I listened, free from mortal fear,
With inward stillness, and submitted mind;
When lo ! its folds far waving on the wind,
I saw the train of the departing year! The ship is driven onward, but at length the curse is finally
Starting from my silent sadness, expiated. A wind springs up:
Then with no unholy madness,
Ere yet the entered cloud foreclosed my sight,
I raised the impetuous song, and solemnised his flight.
Hither, from the recent tomb, The mariner sees his native country. The angelic spirits leave the
From the prison's direr gloom, dead bodies, and appear in their own forms of lighi, each waving his hand to the shore. A boat with a pilot and hermit on board
From Distemper's midnight anguish ; approaches the ship, which suddenly sinks. The mariner is rescued ; And thence, where Poverty doth waste and languish; he entreats the hermit to shrive him, and the penance of life falls on
Or where, his two bright torches blending, him.)
Love illumines manhood's maze ;
Or where, o'er cradled infants bending,
Hope has fixed her wishful gaze,
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye Woes ! ye young-eyed Joys! advance !
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
Whose indefatigable sweep
Raises its fateful strings from sleep,
I bid you haste, a mixed tumultuous band !
From every private bower,
And each domestic hearth,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
O'er Nature struggling in portentous birth
Weep and rejoice!
Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth •What loud uproar bursts from that door!
Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of hell :
And now advance in saintly jubilee
Justice and Truth! They, too, have heard thy spell ;
They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty !
I marked Ambition in his war-array !
I heard the mailed monarch's troublous cryO wedding-guest ! this soul hath been
• Ah! wherefore does the northern conqueress stay! Alone on a wide wide sea :
Groans not her chariot on its onward way?'
Fly, mailed monarch, fly!
Stunned by Death's twice mortal mace,
No more on Murder's lurid face
The insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye! 'Tis sweeter far to me,
Manes of the unnumbered slain !
Ye that gasped on Warsaw's plain !
Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,
When human ruin choked the streams,
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,
'Mid women's shrieks and infants' screams!
Spirits of the uncoffined slain,
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Ost, at night, in misty train,
Rush around her narrow dwelling !
The exterminating fiend is filed-
Foul her life, and dark her doom-
Mighty armies of the dead
Dance like death-fires round her tomb!
Then with prophetic song relate
Each some tyrant-murderer's fate!